Antica Culina

Dr. Antica Culina

Honorary Fellow
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Visiting Address

Droevendaalsesteeg 10
6708 PB Wageningen

+31 (0) 317 47 34 00

The Netherlands



I focus on open science and meta-research in ecology. Why? Because I strive to enable ecologist to do the best possible science with the highest impact on nature and society. Why? Cos we really need this! I also play piano & advocate for equity.


I am a senior scientist at the Ruder Boskovic Institute (Zagreb, Croatia) and an honorary fellow at NIOO-KNAW. I am also a steering board member of the European Open Science Cloud, sub-group on policy.

My expertise covers the evolutionary ecology of bonding, life-history trade-offs, evidence synthesis, and data and code standards. I strive to apply my knowledge of different modelling approaches and Open Science to study and optimize the scientific process itself (using approach called meta-science). In this way, we can enable ecological research to reach its full potential.

My Open Science journey has started in 2015, and it continues. As a part of my efforts, I have co-founded SPI-Birds Network and Database (for FAIR data and codes, and Society for Open, Reliable, and Transparent Ecology and Evolutionary biology (SORTEE I am also participating in other open science initiatives, such as RDA, GoFAIR discovery IN, UNESCO Open Science, Open Knowledge Maps, and FIARsFAIR.

As a sole carer of a toddler, I have been experiencing many obstacles in managing my scientific career. I hope being vocal about this can help change the current evaluation, expectation, and promotion systems in science, and encourage practices that accommodate those in less common life situations.

Get in touch if you have any questions about my work, ideas for collaborative projects, or if you think your group would benefit from a workshop on open practices, meta-science, or meta-analysis.

Research groups



  • 2022–Present
    Senior Research Fellow, Ruder Boskovic Institute, Croatia
  • 2022–Present
    Honorary Fellow, NIOO-KNAW
  • 2018–2022
    Veni Research Fellow, NIOO-KNAW
  • 2016–2018
    Postdoc, NIOO-KNAW
  • 2015–2016
    Postdoc, University of Oxford


  • 2010–2014
    DPhil in Zoology, University of Oxford, UK
  • 2003–2008
    BSc & MSc in Ecology, University of Zagreb


  • 2018
    Veni Individual Fellowship
    Budget: €250,000
  • 2022
    NLBIF Grant
    Budget: €30,000
  • 2021
    Lorentz Center Workshop Grant
    Budget: €25,000
    DANS-KNAW, University of Antwerp
  • 2020
    Dutch Data Prize and Open Science Use Case Award
    Budget: €2,000
  • 2017
    NWO Scientific Meetings Grant
    Budget: €10,000
  • 2017
    RDA EU Early Career support Programme
    Budget: €2,000

Editorial board memberships

Journal of Animal Ecology

PhD students

Marija Purgar
Ruder Boskovic Institute, Zagreb, Croatia
Promotors and Copromotors: Dr. Tin Klanjscek

Invited talks and keynote addresses on symposia and conferences

  • 2023
    EOSC Tripartite event, DEI 2023 Conference
  • 2023
    7th Faculty of Science PhD Student Symposium
  • 2022
    Open Science Fund day
  • 2021
    AIMOS (Association for Interdisciplinary Meta-research and Open science) Conference
  • 2021
    Software Management Plans
  • 2021
    Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution Annual meeting 2021
  • 2021
    FAIRsFAIR National Roadshow
  • 2020
    Better Research Through Better Data
  • 2020
    National Open Science Festival
  • 2019
    Wildlife Research & Conservation 2019
  • 2017
    Open Science Fair
  • 2014
    International Conference on Evolution and Behaviour


Key publications

Projects & collaborations


  • SPI-Birds Network and Database

    Project 2019
    SPI-Birds Network and Database ( is a centralized and community-driven initiative that connects researchers working on wild bird populations in which individuals are uniquely marked and recognized. SPI-Birds makes research groups and their datasets visible, provides systematic data archiving, ensures data quality and integrity, and facilitates data sharing and comparative, cross-dataset analyses. For this purpose, we have developed a data standard and series of data quality checks agreed upon by the community, which adhere to the FAIR principles.
    Blue tit on a tree branch, getting ready to fly.

Additional Projects

  • Reducing research waste in ecology


    Research waste is all research with no or limited information value. We estimated that research waste in Ecology is between 82%-89% of research. Research waste accumulates over the research lifecycle: much of the work is never published, studies are badly designed and their results cannot be trusted, and published studies do not report their results completely. We are now working on solutions to research waste. These include open science practices, but also other principles, such as the involvement of trained statisticians in science. For this, we are engaging with a range of stakeholders, as solutions to the research waste will work only if all the actors of the research ecosystem are involved (researchers, publishers, funders...). 

  • Availability of software code in ecology


    Software code is an essential research component. It allows others to understand the work, reproduce its results, and use it in their own research. In this project, we first evaluated the reproducibility of published studies in ecology, which is very low (see Low availability of code in ecology: A call for urgent action | PLOS Biology). We now work on understanding how journal policies influence the availability of code. We also work on quantifying the extent of the importance of code for analytical reproducibility in ecology. 

  • Pair-bonds beyond breeding season – a new approach to understanding divorce and fidelity using the power of Open Data;


    The project has established a novel approach to understanding pair bonding. The approach has major implications for how we study ecological and evolutionary processes as pair-bonds are essential for reproduction in most animals. More here

  • Meta-analysis and open science


    In this project, we have studied how open science can reduce some of the problems that meta-analysis in ecology faces. We have also produced tools and guidelines for ecologists to navigate the open data landscape in ecology (see Navigating the unfolding open data landscape in ecology and evolution | Nature Ecology & Evolution), and to use open data in meta-analysis (see How to do meta-analysis of open datasets | Nature Ecology & Evolution).

  • Long-term individual data on birds as a source of biodiversity information


    NLBIF grants (Netherlands Biodiversity Information Facility) to work on data and meta-data standards, and link SPI-Birds Network and Database to GBIF. 


In my outreach I focus on communicating:
1) my work to the general public
2) struggles and wins of an everyday scientists. Science must be more inclusive, and I hope my story can show that you do not have to work long hours, nor weekends, not do you have to over-publish to be a good (and happy) scientist!

Nature Careers Webcast (2020): Tips from Nature Careers on managing time and childcare during the coronavirus pandemic

Evolution Video contest by National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (winner 2012)

It's Everyone's D.A.N.C.E: Debunking homosexuAl humaN prejudiCe & stereotypEs Cedric Tan 39 subscribers

Do your D.A.N.C.E: Debunking sAme-sex aNimal prejudiCe and stereotypEs